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Lorin Maazel 1930-2014
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Former Conductor of Cleveland Orchestra and the New York Philharmonic

Lorin Maazel died on Sunday at his home in Castleton, Va. He was 84. The cause was complications of pneumonia, said Jenny Lawhorn, a spokeswoman for Mr. Maazel. In recent days, he had been rehearsing for the Castleton Festival, which takes place on his farm.

Read NY Times Obituary.

Lorin Maazel

From his website:

Maestro Lorin Maazel - 1930-2014

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Maestro Lorin Maazel

The Castleton Festival is sad to announce the passing of its founder and artistic director, the conductor, composer, musician and mentor Maestro Lorin Maazel. ​

Maestro Maazel died on July 13, 2014 in, Virginia, from complications following pneumonia. Maestro Maazel had been at his home, Castleton Farms, rehearsing and preparing for his annual Castleton Festival.

Maestro Maazel, age 84, was a world-renowned conductor, as well as being a composer, mentor, father and husband. He devoted more than 75 years of his life to music-making. A second-generation American born in Paris on March 6, 1930, Lorin Maazel began violin lessons at age five, and conducting lessons at age seven. He studied with Vladimir Bakaleinikoff, and appeared publicly for the first time at age eight. Between ages nine and fifteen he conducted most of the major American orchestras, including the NBC Symphony at the invitation of Arturo Toscanini. In the course of his decades-long career Maestro Maazel conducted more than 150 orchestras in no fewer than 5,000 opera and concert performances. He has made more than 300 recordings, including symphonic cycles of complete orchestral works by Beethoven, Brahms, Debussy, Mahler, Schubert, Tchaikovsky, Rachmaninoff, and Richard Strauss, winning 10 Grands Prix du Disques.

During his career, Maestro Maazel served as Artistic Director of the Deutsche Oper Berlin and General Manager of the Vienna State Opera, as Music Director of the Radio Symphony of Berlin, the Symphony Orchestra of the Bavarian Radio, the Pittsburgh Symphony, the Cleveland Orchestra, the Munich Philharmonic and the New York Philharmonic, with whom he made an unprecedented visit to North Korea in 2008 to perform a concert broadcast on North Korean state television and internationally. In the last year he maintained an active conducting schedule, leading 111 concerts in 2013 alone, from Oman to Munich.

Maestro Maazel was also a highly regarded composer, with a wide-ranging catalog of works written primarily over the last 15 years. His first opera, 1984, based on George Orwell’s literary masterpiece, had its world premiere at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden and a sold-out revival at La Scala, Milan.

The Maestro was awarded Commandeur de la Légion d’honneur twice in France, the Bundesverdienstkreuz in Germany, the Premio Abbiati in Italy, the Commander of the Lion in Finland, the Großes Goldenes Ehrenzeichen für Verdienste um die Republik Österreich as well as the Honorary Membership of the Wiener Philharmoniker and Wiener Staatsoper in Austria, the Honorary Life Membership of the Israel Philharmonic in Israel, and together with Mae West and Pope John Paul II, the title of Kentucky Colonel.

With his wife, Dietlinde Turban Maazel, he founded the Castleton Festival in 2009 and has held annual summer performances and training seminars since then in theatres he built on his Virginia farm. Recognizing the value of mentoring he himself benefited from as a youth, Maestro Maazel established the Castleton Festival with a mission: it would be a “vista-opener,” in his words, to nurture young musicians through mentoring and performing, and would draw audiences to performances showcasing young talent bringing fresh energy to classical music alongside established virtuosos such as Denyce Graves and Sir James Galway to Jeremy Irons and Lady Helen Mirren.

Addressing the audience at the June 28, 2014 opening night of the Castleton Festival, Maestro Maazel described working with the young orchestra and singers as a “more than a labor of love – a labor of joy.”

He is survived by daughters Anjali Maazel and Daria Maazel Steketee; son Ilann Maazel and daughter Fiona Maazel; his wife, Dietlinde Turban Maazel, their sons Orson and Leslie, and their daughter Tara, and four grandchildren, Kiran, Owen, Calypso, and Sahara.

Friends wishing to honor Maestro Maazel may make a charitable donation to his legacy project, the nonprofit foundation for young performers, The Castleton Festival.

A Statement from Maestro Lorin Maazel

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6/11/2014 - Maestro Lorin Maazell greets Paçalin Pavaci, concertmaster of the Castleton Festival.

I would like to thank the literally millions of fans who have, upon hearing of some of my health difficulties I have experienced recently, redoubled requests of my services as conductor, such as the Vienna Philharmonic, the Berlin Philharmonic, London's Philharmonia et al.

I believe I have always acted as responsible professional person, and have been encouraged by my doctors that I should be fit as a conductor to take up my duties starting the Season following 2014/15 which does not exclude occasional appearances along the way. The same sense of responsibility prevents me from officially accepting any appearances as a conductor until then.

That means that with a heavy heart I am obliged to give up my position as Music Director of one of the finest orchestras in the world, the Munich Philharmonic, in my third and last Season 2014/15.

- Lorin Maazel

A Missing Link

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Georges Perec

The following comment can also be read in the preferred language of the reader. The translation is made by computer. Please forgive errors.  

I am always struck by a quality in a classical music composition that puts into motion visions within us that show an unknown topography. Do humans know anything about that inward-looking panorama, hiding capriciously in cracks, lurking in ominous shadows?

A contrapuntal twist can shock, a harmonic flight can rock, a crunching chord can crush, but to what flights of fancy can our souls soar on unknown wings of music!

It is a fantasy of a Musical Author that transforms amorphous quirks that dot our innards into thrills that thrust us forward. Our MA forms a wall of missing links, making all again wondrous, a firm chain, bound anchors of magic.

- Lorin Maazel

P.S. Can the blog reader sort out what is missing in the above entry? Hint: read Georges Perec's "La Disparition", translated into English as "The Void"...and the following comment:

"OuLiPo, the Ouvroir de litterature potentielle (or 'workshop for potential literature'), an elite group of writers, mathematicians and mathematician-writers, founded in 1960 at a conference in Cerisy- la-Salle and dedicated to the composition of works in accordance with arbitrarily adopted but fiendishly difficult formal constraints, including anagrams, pangrams, palindromes and structures based on the rules of the Japanese board game Go (a game at which Perec, as one might have expected, excelled."

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